Long-term Effects

As use continues, tolerance for the drug will increase. This means that users will need to take more of the drug more frequently to obtain the desired effects. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug.

Long-term use can lead to psychotic conditions, including paranoia, auditory or visual hallucinations, and delusions. These symptoms can last for months to years after methamphetamine use has stopped. For people with HIV, methamphetamine abuse can worsen the progression of HIV. Other long-term risks include:

  • problems with muscle rigidity and tremors

  • reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning

  • emotional and cognitive problems

  • aggressiveness

  • extreme anorexia

  • memory loss

  • severe dental problems

  • increased risk of stroke

  • For intravenous (IV) methamphetamine users, there is increased risk of hepatitis or HIV infection, and endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart)

Some, but not all, of the effects of methamphetamine use have been shown to be reversible. One study showed an association with abstaining from methamphetamine use and improved performance on motor and verbal memory tests. However, function in other affected areas of the brain did not show improvement, even after 2 years of abstinence, indicating that some methamphetamine-induced changes are long lasting.